Coachella wrapped up its first 2024 weekend on Sunday, and many of the headlining artists had a slew of A-list special guests. Billie Eilish, Childish Gambino, Olivia Rodrigo, and Kesha were all among the names of guests that made appearances this weekend. This seemingly overwhelming amount of guest appearances is leaving many people on social media wondering: why are there so many special guests this year? 

Artists bringing out special guests for their Coachella sets isn’t new, though some of these team ups make more sense than others. In 2014, Disclosure brought out Sam Smith to sing their hit single “Latch”. In 2023, singer and rapper Labrinth brought out actress Zendaya to sing their hits from the Euphoria soundtrack, “All For Us” and “I’m Tired”. This year, Tyler the Creator brought out Kali Uchis during his Saturday headlining set to sing her verse in “See You Again”. 

One of the reasons why artists bring out certain special guests during their sets is for exposure. Coachella is the most attended and highest-grossing music festival in North America, averaging 200,000 attendees over both weekends, and typically raking in over $100 million (USD) in profits every year after 2017. Festival organizers also made the decision in 2023 to expand their live streaming to all six stages on YouTube, meaning anyone could catch artists’ sets from home, expanding the exposure of these shows to a whole new degree. Compared to other festivals in North America, a performance on the Coachella stage has the opportunity to provide a huge amount of exposure for artists. 

Why do so many artists bring out special guests at Coachella?

Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times

Other times though (and perhaps the more likely answer), is that it gives artists a chance to perform with collaborators, friends, and idols. Olivia Rodrigo said in an Instagram post after her performance with No Doubt on April 13 that she’s been a fan of No Doubt for a long time, and that their song “Bathwater” that she performed with them inspires her songwriting to this day. Lana Del Rey had similar sentiments about her special guest star Billie Eilish, who she performed with at her headlining set on April 12, calling Eilish a “voice of a generation” and that she’s “so grateful” to be standing next to her singing together. 

A lot of artists share similar sentiments about their guest stars, and this desire to share the stage and Coachella spotlight with friends, fellow artists, and collaborators alike seems to be the main reason for these guest appearances.

The second weekend of Coachella 2024 kicks off on Friday, April 19, 2024. 

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